Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances were all the more stunning for coming after patchy performances of music by Dvorak and Rachmaninov.
In Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, soloist Alexandra Soumm seemed to ‘force’ the opening flourishes and other display passages, and that led to lapses in intonation.
But she was effective, even enchanting, when relaxing into characteristic Mendelssohnian delicacy - a quality well-matched by the BSO.
Three of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances seemed oddly laboured under the usually lively Owain Arwel Hughes. But Op 72 No 2, Allegretto Grazioso, was different class, shaded with a beguiling melancholy. Then conductor and orchestra came into their own in Rachmaninov’s final major work.
The performance was richly energised but rightly made no attempt to impose Rachmaninov’s usual luxuriance of tone on a work whose strength lies largely in its relative astringency and spareness of texture.